Let me start by saying this is a solid sci-fi novel and I am usually not a fan of sci-fi. That being said, I actually enjoyed the book. I picked it up because it kept showing up on my recommended reading list on multiple sites LOL. I found it used at a bookstore and thought, Why not?
The first half of the book is setup and it was hard for me to stay engaged. A lot of background, setting, and explanation of what the world is like, in addition to the set up for the story line. However, without it the rest of the book doesn’t make much sense. Once you got past the first part, it picked up from there and it was focused solely on the main story line.
The book is a little hard to describe, but the back cover/book description does a fairly decent job. It is set in an alternate 1980s England and follows the main character, Thursday Next. There are airships instead of planes, do-dos are pets, and everyone is OBSESSED with literature. There is a group of special operations divisions that carry out different tasks – SpecOps 5 is Search and Containment of criminals, SpecOps 12 is ChronoGuard that monitors time travel and the time line, SpecOps 17 is Werewolf and Vampire Disposal, and Thursday’s division of SpecOps 27 – Literatec that monitors stolen or forged literature and literary crime. There are a lot of others, but these ones you run into in the book. Her dad is a ChronoGuard fugitive who pops in and out of the story traveling through time. Her uncle is an inventor and her love interest is a writer.
The book opens with a Charles Dickens manuscript getting stolen by a man named Hades. There are issues during the recovery operation and Thursday transfers home to the smaller office in Swindon. Her uncle and one of his inventions is kidnapped. Shortly after, a character goes missing from the Dickens story. Before Thursday and her crew can get the manuscript back, Hades steals the Jane Eyre original manuscript and Jane gets pulled out of the book. This is about halfway into the book, and it really picks up at that point. I happen to love Jane Eyre and if you are familiar with the book, you notice some interesting changes throughout The Eyre Affair, but it all works out in the end.
Once I got past the background phase of the book, I really like it. I can see why people say you should read it at least once. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys sci-fi or interesting literature stories. I thought it was a lot of fun and a neat take on the world. Not sure if I will read more of the series because I mainly picked this one up because of my love for Jane Eyre but I’m glad I read it. You should check it out!